Here is 'The Messenger' downloable for free: July & August Magazine.
Dear brothers & sisters,
At some point, God-willing, during the period this magazine covers (July-August) we will finally be released from the restrictions we have been living with over the past year and a half. This ought to be, and we hope it will be, a time of great thanksgiving; of singing (inc. in church); and of getting back to our ‘normal’ lives. The government has made a big deal of its ‘Build Back Better’ campaign encouraging the nation to think through what lessons we can learn from lockdown life, and how a return to ‘normal’ could be a return to a better ‘normal’. Whilst making no comment on the governments specific proposals, I do think that as Christians, and as a church family, we should consider how we can ‘Build Back Better’. The PCC are considering ways to ‘Build Back Better’ with our teams of volunteers, in our services, and in our outreach, and I will let you know how we get on. But individuals should think through how they can ‘Build Back Better’ too. Here are three things to consider as we return to normal:
First, as far as you are able, work out a sustainable pattern of life. Before COVID, life was hectic for many. We had activities and events every night. We worked late into our evenings, and saw family and friends less often than we’d like. The pandemic changed that, and we found a quieter life, with time in the evenings, new hobbies, and plenty of time to see family and to video-call our friends. As we transition back let’s not rush back to rushing. Take a look at your week and make sure there aren’t too many things regularly in the diary. Make space for seeing friends and family, book them into the diary, and book space for your hobbies and your likes. If you enjoy reading, for instance, but didn’t have time before COVID add some time into your schedule for reading, don’t just assume it will happen. And while you’re at, make sure that you have time to stop, time to rest… in fact I’m sure some One important once commended a sabbath rest to us?!… so make sure you take it (where possible) each week.
Second, many of us have found time to pray each day during lockdown, so let’s make sure that isn’t a casualty of returning to ‘normal’. Get into the habit, if you haven’t already, of setting aside some time on your own each day for some quiet, some bible reading, and some prayer. If you need help with reading the Bible and praying then do let me know, and I can provide you with some materials which might help.
Third, as we return to ‘normal’ let’s be mindful that we are part of a community, part of a church family, and ensure no one gets left behind. When the pandemic struck we all rallied round and took care of the housebound and the isolated, something we have to keep doing. As a church we have got better at providing the housebound with resources on a Sunday, so they can read a reflection (online or on paper), which is wonderful, but let’s make sure that those who can’t attend church get the chance to talk to other Christians from our church family if they would like to. If you’re housebound or isolated let me know if you’d like to see someone; and if you can help (through phone calls or visits) let me know as well.
After such a challenging time, it can be very tempting to want to move past it as quickly as possible and return to life as it was before. But before we try and pick up exactly where we left off, let’s take some time to think clearly about what we should pick back up and what we should leave in the past; let’s make sure we ‘Build Back Better’.